Virtual Guru®
Demo &
Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is Virtual Guru?

Virtual Guru is a state-of-the art audio “knowledge transfer tool” that records the words of wisdom or W.O.W. of subject matter experts for the benefit of your entire organization. The technology and process are simple, and the results are quick. We digitally record MP3 and WAV files. The play-back of information is an indexed Q&A, and it’s as easy as clicking a link on the Web or listening to a tune on your ipod.

Virtual Guru is an application whose time has come.

2. Why is Virtual Guru important?

What we’re hearing over and over is that organizations are losing their top performers. There are a variety of reasons:

  • Baby boomers are retiring
  • Thanks to the recovering economy, employees now have more choices about where to work, and often the best employees are the first to leave
  • More jobs are moving off-shore
  • Mergers and acquisitions are on the rise
  • On a smaller scale are the sabbaticals and family leave situations.

Even organizations that have not yet lost their experts are beginning to wonder what will happen when those top performers are no longer around to answer the questions as only they can. When key players give notice, there may be only days — sometimes minutes —to capture their knowledge and your intellectual property. Using conventional methods, that’s not enough time to do it right.

Let’s face it, if you’re like me, you’ve worked hard to get your organization where it is today. Keep your culture, hard-earned best practices and intellectual capital working for you. We think Virtual Guru is the best way to hang onto what you have and make it even better.

3. What are some applications?

Virtual Guru isn’t just about fear of losing information. It’s also about capturing it and using it within your organization. There are dozens of applications. Here are a few of the typical ones:

  • Training new employees
  • Training seasoned employees on new programs, products and services
  • Acknowledging star performers’ expertise and contributions
  • Extending your organizational culture everywhere there’s an office or outpost
  • Quickly communicating key messages — and in the voices of the people best suited to deliver them.

The list is almost endless — it’s for any application in which there’s no viable substitute for expert knowledge.

4. Who needs Virtual Guru?

Anyone who needs to save time, money, reduce risk and build organizational credibility.

Virtual Guru lets you:

  • Pass along key information and techniques quickly and efficiently
  • Preserve your unique culture despite turnover
  • Quickly bring new employees up-to-speed
  • Transfer the knowledge and skill of your star performers to eager learners (think of sales training, customer service, specialized skills transfer)
  • It lets you ensure credibility and continuity for constituents and customers
  • And – when everyone knows what to do and how to do it well — customers, constituents and employees alike — that can significantly reduce your risks and costs

While Virtual Guru is an immediate solution, we can also turn sound bites into interactive simulations and learning games with the power to change behavior and build your culture.

5. What kind of impact does Virtual Guru have on individuals within an organization?

The impact of Virtual Guru is immediate — both for the subject matter expert and for the rest of your organization.

People learn from experts’ experience and stories. Virtual Guru makes it easy for everyone at every level of the organization to learn from the best — just in time.

Virtual Guru:

  • It protects the intellectual capital that is your organization’s lifeblood
  • It helps retain your star performers by giving them their due recognition
  • It reinforces and extends your strong culture of excellence
  • And it builds bench strength by capturing the wisdom of your experts and making it available to everyone.

6. What is the Virtual Guru process?

We interview your experts, using carefully developed questions that get right to the heart of what they do so well — and not just the WHAT, but equally as important, the HOW. Then we edit, catalog and turn the information into easily digestible sound bites in a Q&A format that can be accessed anywhere and anytime there is a learning opportunity and electronic access.

With Atlas Island’s LIFE™ program, we can also turn the wisdom of your experts into customized, interactive simulations and learning games with the power to change behavior and build your culture.

7. Why does Virtual Guru use audio, not video, to capture experts’ wisdom?

First, Virtual Guru can use video. For most applications, we suggest audio because:

  • Audio is quicker and less expensive to capture. The turnaround can be hours instead of weeks. Video preparation is much lengthier and therefore much more costly. Video requires sets and complex equipment and lengthy editing if you want a first-class product.
  • Virtual Guru interviews are typically performed by phone. We can interview people who are continents away as easily and as inexpensively as we can interview people in the next room.
  • Video interviews can also be distracting. If someone is having a bad hair day or is sweating profusely under the camera lights, their essential message can be lost. Unless they’re media pros, experts can come across as nervous or insincere. With audio, learners can focus on what’s important, the message.

Audio files are also easier to distribute. The interviews can play on nearly any modern electronic device, whether or not there’s a video display. The interviews typically appear in a succinct Q & A format so that searching for the right answer is direct and quick.

8. Tell me about your experience. Why should organizations choose Virtual Guru over others?

We do more than just capture audio or video files. Anyone with a tape recorder or camcorder can do that.

Our expertise is in three areas:

  1. First, we know how to ask the right questions. Our team is comprised of veteran business correspondents who have reported for the Los Angeles Times, Newsweek and The Economist. We know how to interview anyone, anywhere, from the White House to the board room, from the cubicle to the assembly line — and get at the crux of what they do, why and how they do it.
  2. We are seasoned performance improvement and training professionals who have produced programs for The British Broadcasting Corporation and the International Video Network. We know what it takes to design, develop and deliver top- quality, results-based programs — and we have years of experience doing that for organizations all over the world.
  3. We have passion for what we do: We preserve the intelligence of people and organizations as a way of improving life and the work experience.

9. Does Virtual Guru comply with eLearning standards, like SCORM?

Yes. You can import a Virtual Guru MP3 file into your authoring tool and export to SCORM when you publish and you're good to go.

10. Where is Virtual Guru available?

Virtual Guru is available through Atlas Island Media. We are based in San Francisco, but Virtual Guru is not geographically specific. It can be used anywhere in the world because interviews are captured by phone, and the files can be delivered electronically. It’s easy and fast.

You can reach us by email: or by calling our office, (858) 792-0961. All our contact information appears on this web site.

11. What are the ways organizations use Virtual Guru?

There are four levels of Virtual Guru application:

  • Full-service Virtual Guru
  • Virtual Guru Toolkit
  • There is a Virtual Guru workshop
  • And Virtual Guru Custom Training Programs

12. Tell us about “Full-service Virtual Guru

We consult with you about your experts and the results you’re looking for. Then we perform the interviews that capture the wisdom of experts’ in their own voices. After that we edit, categorize — and, depending on the size of the project — usually return the audio files to you in a matter of days, along with a suggestion for the graphic user interface.

That’s one way that we work.

13. What is the Virtual Guru Toolkit

This is a self-study and self-service option. For a licensing fee, we provide you with the tools and the handbook that explains how to use them. Your own people do the work. They create the questions, perform the interviews, edit and deliver the final product. This option answers the need for organizations that will be using Virtual Guru on an ongoing basis — and that have professionals with the time and ability to do it.

14. There is a virtual guru workshop – tell me about that

In the workshop, you get the Virtual Guru toolkit that I just explained, and you get us to train your people in the process. The hardware and software are fairly easy to learn, and we provide some practice with that. But the majority of the workshop is involved with the most critical skill: Figuring out the right questions to ask and how to ask them — how to listen and probe and pull out the secrets, the best war stories and the W.O.W.

15. I understand there are also Virtual Guru Custom Training Programs

This is different than the “Virtual Guru Workshop.” It is a custom program developed exclusively for the client. It is usually based on captured Virtual Guru interviews. We turn them into formalized training programs with case studies, for example, built around your organization. Participants might hear a war story, determine best practices based on the war story, and then listen to the guru’s resolution. It’s impossible to describe the programs fully because every one is customized to the client’s needs.

16. What does Virtual Guru cost?

The answer is: “It depends.” The four different programs all carry different price tags depending on scope and complexity.

For organizations that use Virtual Guru on a regular basis for everything from CEO newscasts to training and development — and who have people with the time and expertise to use it, the Toolkit would be the most cost-effective. There’s a licensing fee that depends on the number of people in your organization.

The Virtual Guru Workshop — which imparts the Virtual Guru process — would be the next most cost-effective for frequent users. It speeds up the learning curve for the people in your organization who will be performing the Virtual Guru services. The size of your organization will determine the price.

Organizations that have a limited need for Virtual Guru would probably do best with the full-service option — although we’re quite sure that once your organization discovers how easy and valuable the process is — you’ll soon opt for the licensed version.

Customized Virtual Guru programs usually carry the highest price-tag because this is custom work. It’s impossible to quote a standard price because there are so many variables, but our prices are in line with other custom training development.

Please contact us and tell us your needs, and we'll be delighted to discuss costs on a case basis. There's a more important consideration than the cost of Virtual Guru: What do you stand to lose if one of your star performers - someone with your proprietary secrets - walks out the door for the last time TODAY, and you have not captured that knowledge?

Contact us for more information and a free consultation.




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